PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA:
I rise to also speak on this matter of public importance. It asks us to discuss the facts about the carbon tax. We on this side of the House are very happy to talk about the facts about the carbon tax. In fact, we will talk about them day in, day out right up until the next election and beyond. The first fact we should know about the carbon tax, is that it was introduced based on a lie. Every single one of us in this House, with the exception of the few Independents, went to the election in 2010 saying that we would not introduce a carbon tax if we were elected to this parliament. That was every single member on this side of the House and every member on that side of the House.
The Prime Minister famously said a few days before the last election that, if she was elected Prime Minister, there would be no carbon tax under a government that she led. It will be a statement that will follow her until the end of her political time in this parliament because that is the basis of the lie. This is the first fact that we need to discuss whenever we discuss the facts about the carbon tax.
The second fact that we should be discussing about the carbon tax is that it will have enormous economic pain on this nation at a time when we can least afford it. It will have pain in at least two ways. It will have pain in terms of putting upward pressure on the cost of living and it will cause pain in terms of job losses across the community. Let me address that first one about putting upward pressure on the cost of living for everyday families. You just have to look at the government’s own figures. They have tabled the modelling to which the member for Chifley referred and that modelling itself says that the carbon tax will cause electricity prices to increase by 10 per cent in the first year alone. That modelling says that it will cause gas prices to increase by nine per cent in the first year alone.
There is modelling from other independent agencies which say that it will cause Australian made motor vehicles to increase in price by $400. There is modelling by the Master Builders Association who say that it will increase the cost of a newly built house in Australia by $5,000. We know of other modelling which says that rates will go up by at least one to 1½ per cent. In my own electorate, which covers most of the Knox municipality, they have already made the decision to increase rates by $1½ million for the residents of Knox, due to the carbon tax. That is a 1½ per cent increase on the rates for every single residence across my electorate. I could go on.
These price increases are when the carbon tax is at $23 per tonne in the first year. But we know that the carbon tax is legislated to increase to $29 per tonne by 2016 and that it is forecast to go up to $37 per tonne by 2020 and then up to an incredible $350 per tonne by 2050. We talk about the price impact today on electricity, on gas, on rates, on house prices and on motor vehicles, let alone before it gets to $29 or $37 or up to $350. The prices will just continue to go up and up and up and up. The previous speaker, the member for Moreton, said the whole point of this was to put up prices. That is the whole point of the carbon tax regime. It is actually to put up prices. At least the Prime Minister had the honesty to admit this when, back at the beginning of 2011, she said:
“I want to be very clear with Australians about what pricing carbon does. It has price impacts, it’s meant to—that’s the whole point.”
That is exactly right. It is the whole point that it puts prices up and these prices will go up across the board and they will continue to go up as the carbon tax goes up from $23 per tonne right up to $350 per tonne by 2050.
I mentioned the impact on jobs. We have also had some economic modelling done by the Treasury departments in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and elsewhere. In Queensland under Anna Bligh’s premiership, they did some modelling and said that the carbon tax would cost Queensland 21,000 jobs. In Victoria it would be 23,000 jobs according to the Victorian Treasury modelling. In New South Wales it would be 31,000 jobs.
Let us have a look at the government’s own modelling and the aluminium industry figures in the government’s package which says that the impact of the carbon tax will halve the aluminium industry. But perhaps in the government’s own figures, the most astounding number of them all—and the government does not like to talk about—is that between now and 2050, the carbon tax will decrease our GDP by $1 trillion between now and 2050.
To put that into context, that is the equivalent of a whole year’s worth of economic output between now and 2050. So for every single Australian between now and 2050, one of your year’s of work will just disappear because of the impact of the carbon tax. To suggest that that will not have any impact on jobs, to lose a year’s worth of output, is frankly preposterous. But it is right there in the government’s numbers.
Let me go to the third fact. I have pointed out the first fact about it being based on a lie and I have discussed the second fact about it having a tremendous economic impact in relation to cost-of-living pressures and jobs. The third fact in relation to the carbon tax is that the compensation will be insufficient for the carbon tax impact in very many cases. It will certainly be insufficient for all of the other price impacts which this government is having through its various other policies.
We know, for example, that in their own words at least 40 per cent of Australians will be worse off as a result of this carbon tax package. That includes, for example, a person who might, say, be earning $90,000 as an electrician and who is married to somebody who is earning $30,000 as a part-time retail assistant. A family with those incomes would receive $306 in compensation according to the government, but would be hit by $681 by the carbon tax. That is, they would be $375 worse off each and every year. And this, of course, is reliant upon the government modelling being accurate, when we know that in previous years the government’s forecasts have been far from accurate. Two years ago they said that this year’s deficit was going to be $12 billion and, of course, it has ended up being $45 billion. So we question that modelling as to whether it will be correct.
And, of course, there is an array of other areas where the government is putting upward pressure on prices. It is putting upward pressure on prices through the 22 other taxes which it has introduced in the last four or five years. It has been putting upward pressure on families’ cost of living by reducing family tax benefits and eliminating the entrepreneurs’ tax offset. It is also changing the policy settings in child care, in the private health insurance rebate and in shipping reforms, which makes things more expensive. And, of course, in its macro settings it is making the economy less productive overall.
The carbon tax, though, is the worst of it all. To address cost-of-living pressures we must get rid of the carbon tax and we must change this government.